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Made-to-order or pre-made items?

Which do you find you have more success with made-to-order or pre-made items? Do you keep some of each stocked? Are customs a big or small part of your sales?

26 Responses

I think I have more success with made to order and I actually prefer made to order. With my collars/leashes/wedding accessories they're all made right when the order is placed.

Some of my other random accessories aren't. I don't keep a lot of back stock, though. When it sells, if it's something simple that I can remake, I relist. If not, that's it.
Would love more custom orders, though sometimes it is a tricky process working with a person long distance. : )
I make one item in order to photograph-- that it IT! I list items as custom made. IF my "prototype" happens to sell (in that they request that exact size) I use it to fill the order. Otherwise everything is custom made as bought.

I would hate making up a bunch of premade items and then no one wants that size! :-)
Diann--I have not had a great deal of problems with that--I state in my listing the measurements needed and ask the breed of dog--as some dogs have different shapes--big difference between a poodle and a bulldog. I can usually make allowances. I can only think of two times the item did not fit and I did replace it.

I do not ask for the item back if it is a diaper for sanitary reasons. I just consider this "loss" as the price of doing business. If a harness I did / do ask it to be returned IF they measured wrong--if I am in the wrong they can keep that too!
my whole shop is made to order.

I do all of that. Much of what I am doing of late, are custom orders (not just personalized), which is way cool. I enjoy working with someone to get their vision perfected, & always get a rush when they tell me it is exactly as they want it.

I do have some back stock on things, if not, I have the raw materials to get it done quickly. I can with my products.
I've been thinking about offering some made to order items, but I'm concerned about being hit with a bunch of orders that I then have to make but may not have time to put together. Does anyone ever run into this problem? Or, how to you manage having enough time to make custom orders when you offer lots of them? Do you give customers a specific amount of time to make a piece, and do you list this timeframe in your policies or item descriptions?
I think it depends entirely on what you make and what sort of storage space you have.

For example, with soaps I make them in batches so I try to always have some in stock. I would be more than happy to take a custom order for a larger quantity but I don't have the storage space available to me to store both ingredients and large quantities of stock.

If I was doing something like cards or papercraft I would probably prefer to do them on a made to order basis. That way I could store all of the materials and then just make the item when an order comes in, and ship it off.

Another thing to consider is the time frame it takes to make an item.
Even with my thousands of collars and harnesses in stock I still end up filling custom orders nearly daily but if it weren't for the many items that I do keep in stock I think I would have a hard time keeping up with it all.

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